F1 Hungarian Grand Prix
Sunday July 31, 14:00
Sky Sports F1
There was more agonising disappointment for Charles Leclerc last time out in France as he suffered another damaging DNF whilst in the lead.
That's now three races this season in which he's been ahead and has seen a potential maximum haul of points dissipate. His loss was once again Max Verstappen's gain as the Dutchman secured his seventh win of the season, and in turn extended his lead at the top of the Drivers' Standings to 63 points.
Following a penalty, Carlos Sainz produced a superb drive from the back of the grid to grab fifth and, combined with their showings in qualifying, Ferrari still look strong. However, it was Mercedes who secured a double podium finish in another positive weekend for the Silver Arrows, as they continue to bridge the gap to their rivals.
Leclerc must respond this weekend
While the Monegasque driver took full responsibility for his mistake last weekend, he knows that these errors combined with the reliability issues that have blighted Ferrari all season and are likely to now cost them.
There is still a lot of racing to come this season but, just as it seemed Ferrari could get back on top after back-to-back race wins, there was fresh disappointment as Verstappen, Red Bull and Mercedes pounced to take advantage.
With the summer break coming up, Leclerc will be desperate to win in Hungary to boost morale and end on a high note while we wait to return in Belgium at the end of August.
He made it 16 career pole positions last weekend as he now sits third in the team's pole-sitter history, and with that consistent ability to qualify on the front row of the grid, he will look to deliver on Saturday again and try to avoid any Sunday drama.
Importantly, Ferrari have a strong car right now and have shown that they have the pace to lead the way, but they must stop making life more difficult for themselves and convert their high performance level into big points.
The Scuderia are expected to have a strong weekend here as this track should suit them given its characteristics with their superior traction and control in corners, while straight-line speed may not be as impactful.
Everyone will be looking for a Leclerc response, and they should get one as he looks to prove he's title-contender material.
Sainz eyeing double Ferrari joy
In the aftermath of the French Grand Prix, Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto immediately switched his focus to this race and set a clear target, a one-two finish on Sunday at the Hungaroring.
After the high of his brilliant win at Silverstone, Sainz suffered major disappointment after his DNF in Austria. Despite taking a grid penalty in France and starting in 19th, he finished fifth after a superb drive. But for some more questionable strategic decision-making from Ferrari, it could have been even better for the Spaniard.
Mercedes are undoubtedly continuing to close the gap and Red Bull, particularly Verstappen, will be in the thick of the battle every week. However, Ferrari need to respond here as it's now necessary to hold off Mercedes in the Constructors' standings and to keep Leclerc in the hunt for Verstappen.